Vehicle Efficiency and Tractive Work: Rate of Change for the Past Decade and Accelerated Progress Required for U.S. Fuel Economy and CO2 Regulations
A major driving force for change in light-duty vehicle design and technology is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joint final rules concerning Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for model years 2017 (MY17) through 2025 (MY25) passenger cars and light trucks. The chief goal of this current study is to compare the already rapid pace of fuel economy improvement and technological change over the previous decade to the required rate of change to meet regulations over the next decade. EPA and NHTSA comparisons of the model year 2005 (MY05) US light-duty vehicle fleet to the model year 2015 (MY15) fleet shows improved fuel economy (FE) of approximately 26% using the same FE estimating method mandated for CAFE regulations. Future predictions by EPA and NHTSA concerning ensemble fleet fuel economy are examined as an indicator of required vehicle rate-of-change.